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From a restaurant's budget to its atmosphere, energy-efficient lighting can provide operators with many benefits.

5 Benefits of LED Lighting

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Energy-efficient lighting offers restaurants many benefits, including cost savings.
By Matthew Lanfear September 2017 Expert Insights

In restaurants, the lighting is often as important as the fixtures in which they’re placed. This applies particularly to LED lightbulbs, since they’re directly tied to monthly energy costs, which can impact your bottom-line.

First, an introduction to LEDs: LED stands for ‘Light Emitting Diode,’ a semiconductor device that converts electricity into light, doing so more efficiently than incandescent and CFL bulbs. The lack of heat emitted from an LED bulb is what sets it apart from an incandescent bulb. Heat is what shortens the lifespan, but since LEDs operate at lower temperatures, they last comparatively longer.

In addition to the potential 80 percent energy cost savings, here are five more reasons to switch your restaurant lighting to LED:

1. Improve the Mood of Your Restaurant

Good lighting can create a sense of space and detail, and—if done well—enhance the quality of a setting. Good LED lighting can also accomplish these, but with additional unique psychological benefits for both patrons and employees. Studies show that LED bulbs’ higher color temperature can elevate positive moods and performance. LEDs are also found to create faster reaction times, reduce fatigue, lower depression rates, and improve visual and cognitive tasks. This means your customers can relax and enjoy a stress-free meal, while your employees can work better for the clientele as well as the business.

2. Tailor to the Needs of Your Setting

From bulb shape and size, to brightness level and color hue, the options for LED lighting are as varied as your customers’ tastes in food. Though it can be exhilarating to have so much selection, it may also feel overwhelming, whether you’re installing LEDs on a new, modern restaurant or retrofitting for an older diner. My best advice? Assess your lighting choices one room at a time. The lighting for a small bathroom will be different from that of a large bar area. Just by switching to LEDs, you’ll decrease your energy output and costs, so it’s best to take more time to customize the look to fit the space, which will make the switch to LED as seamless as changing a lightbulb.

3. Enhance Your Brand’s Eco-Friendly Currency

The greatest reasons to switch to LED are to lower costs and consume less energy. The additional benefits may then include establishing and marketing your restaurant as a brand that supports sustainability. In 2015, Nielson’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report indicated that 66 percent of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. This means switching to LED, along with implementing other eco-friendly initiatives, could put your establishment ahead of your competitors. Incorporating a sustainability business plan may also qualify your business for local green business certifications, which could create additional marketing opportunities.

4. The Technology Continues to Improve

LED lighting is not a stagnant technology. Rather, it’s one that continues to evolve, much to the benefit of businesses still considering making the switch. In the brief time that LEDs have been on the market, their performance has improved, with greater energy efficiency, longer lifetimes, and better color quality. And unlike many other technologies (hello, iPhone) these enhancements are lowering the costs, rather than raising them. Since 2008, prices for LED lightbulbs have dropped 90 percent, making LEDs one of the most accessible green technologies on the market. These enhancements have also allowed for LEDs with more distinctive features, such as Wi-Fi enabled and LEDs made from organic materials, known as OLEDs.

5. Save in the Short-Term and Long-Term

An ideal business investment provides both immediate as well as long-term ROI. LED bulbs do just that. As LEDs become more ubiquitous, the price is decreasing compared to traditional bulbs. There are also various financial incentives and funding plans, either through companies that don’t require up-front installation fees, or via government subsidies, rebates and tax credits, which incentivize the initial the short-term investment. The long-term ROI is based primarily on LEDs’ extended usage, as they last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, therefore reducing the need for frequent replacement and overall spending on new bulbs.

For restaurants both large and small, the experience set forth for customers is a top priority, and lighting is an important factor in creating it. If your restaurant can attain a strong aesthetic while also being energy efficient using LED lighting, your business will be ‘switched-on’ to long-term success.

Matthew Lanfear is an energy management and procurement executive with more than 20 years of experience in developing energy management plans for small business entrepreneurs, product development, business operations, and strategy. Matt is currently president and CEO at Great Eastern Energy, an energy supplier of electricity, natural gas, and energy solutions in NY, NJ, and MA. Connect with him on LinkedIn and @GrtEastEnergy on Twitter.